How to Pool Your Drapes


The luxuriousness of pooled drapes adds drama to a window as well as the room while still maintaining an element of romance and softness. Yet when done poorly, pooled drapes often end up simply looking like poorly sized window treatments. Proper measurements, and a bit of planning, ensure that you achieve an elegant look rather than a haphazard one.

Drape Length

  • Length is critical when pooling drapes, as are accurate measurements. Start by determining how high you want the curtains above the window. When you’re pooling drapes, higher often looks best, making the window look taller and the arrangement more theatrical. Measure down from about six to eight inches above the upper window frame to the floor. Then, add anywhere from two to six inches extra to allow for plenty of pooling.

Drape Width

  • If pulled tight across the window, pooling at the bottom of the drapes looks untailored. Measure the width of the window from the outside edges and multiply this by 2.5. This is the total width of the panels, combined, that you need to create a soft, full effect. If you’re planning to leave the curtains open, simply pooling them while drawn, you can do a bit less than this; however, having the option to pull curtains closed is the best choice.

Fabric Choices

  • Not all fabric pools equally, and the material you choose for your drapes directly affects how the finished window treatments lie. Linen, velvet, lined silk and faux silk are the easiest to work with, having enough weight to stay in place while still pooling gracefully. Sheerer fabrics, when amply wide, are also rather forgiving. Their airy quality lends itself well to a whimsical look, and these look better even when they’re a bit off or unkempt, as opposed to heavy velvet drapes that aren’t positioned well.

Installation Tips

  • If your drapes aren’t level to the floor, the pooling will be uneven, making the overall shoddy installation more noticeable. Measure up and out from the corners of the window and then go back in with a level to ensure that everything’s lined up properly. Because pooled drapes have more fabric, and are thus heavier, wall anchors are essential if you aren’t installing the brackets directly into a wall stud. In a room where you don’t plan to reposition the curtains, and if you don’t have young children running around, you can use small tacks or low-tack tape to hold the gathering in place once set. This can damage the bottom hem of your drapes or the floor, so take future decorating changes into account before securing them.

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